Hot Yoga to Warm Up Your Winter



What is Hot Yoga, and What Are the Benefits?

Hot yoga has exploded in popularity in recent years, with offerings ranging from Bikram yoga to different types of Vinyasa-style yoga classes. Hot yoga is a great way to take care of your mind and body, especially when it's cold outside - and you might find it’s a great way to beat the winter blues.

If you’re new to the idea of hot yoga, keep reading to learn more about what it is, some of the benefits, and some precautions to keep in mind.

What is hot yoga?

Hot yoga is practiced in an externally heated room where the temperature is generally around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, though some types (like Bikram) heat the studio to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity levels around 40%.

You’ll move through a series of poses and postures and the exact sequence and intensity will depend on the class you’re taking. For example, Bikram-style yoga involves a fixed series of 26 postures and each class is 90 minutes. Other classes are Vinyasa style, where the yoga teacher can guide you through any number of postures and poses at varying intensities.

What are the benefits of hot yoga?

Many people love hot yoga because of a perceived increase in flexibility. This happens because your blood flow increases in a heated environment, so you’ll feel like you can achieve a deeper stretch. Other yogis argue that the sweating you’ll do in hot yoga releases toxins from the body, though that claim is certainly up for debate.

Another common benefit that’s claimed is the quality of a hot yoga workout. But, according to Dr. Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise (ACE), “the benefits are largely perceptual ... people think the degree of sweat is the quality of the workout, but that’s not reality. It doesn’t correlate to burning more calories.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give hot yoga a try, though. The hot temperatures, humid room, and movement can make you feel great, especially during the winter. If you love hot yoga and how it makes you feel, especially when it’s below freezing outside, that’s a good enough reason to attend a class.

Hot yoga health precautions

Hot yoga isn’t for everyone, and it can be very intense. Heat-related health issues like heat stroke can crop up, so if you’re at all concerned about your ability to tolerate extreme heat and humidity, it never hurts to check in with your doctor.

Always come to a hot yoga class with plenty of water, and make sure you drink more water before and after class. You know your own limits, so if you become too lightheaded or dizzy, it’s completely okay to step out of the heated room for a few moments.